[For a deconstruction of the sociological deconstruction of ‘race’ qua subspecies refer here. For my discussion of biological race, refer here and here. (For a list of relevant readings refer here and here.) For a visual display of race qua population, refer here.]
I just came across the future of this country in the form of an aspiring writer who attempts to tackle the elusive meaning of “race.” In his profound post, Race As A Social Construct, he unravels the riddle of race and offers a pithy solution to the ever evolving race problem. I’ll sum it up for you:
Race is a big deal in this country. That’s a bad thing. Race is about status, particularly ’white’ people trying to hold onto their status; it’s not really real, just socially real. White people need to solve this problem by getting anti-racist.
Were it for how this was derived, this would not be worth mentioning. Here are the key points:
– Some guy once argued that ‘race’ doesn’t correspond to population genetics.
– race is about power, not biology: persons that happened to bought from Africa where first treated as indentured servants. Later others were treated as slaves as more and more were brought. At this time they were considered to be inferior.
– emminem shows that Race is not tied to culture.
–Race is about status, not biology: Some Indian guy was denied full US rights on the basis of not being European, even though he was Caucasian, on the other hand, some other guy was denied full US rights on the basis of not being European, even though he was White.
What ever happened to the story about how various European ethne came over and settled, when not conquered, a land; and then how they built a nation with West Caucasian cultural capital. I believe that was the story where they brought 1/2 million Africans slaves over during the 1700′s, thereby established the black/white dichotomy. It was the story where, before the 70′s, the US population was largely European and the society was both explicitly and implicitly Christian West Caucasian. I believe in that story, given the demographics, most interactions were between ‘white’ people; as such, ‘ethnic differences’ and not ‘racial differences’ were the prisms through which people often viewed things, to the extent that they so did. In the 60′s and 70′s, so the story goes, race became a hot social issue with regards to the Ancestrally Africans and the various West Caucasian ethne for various reasons –among them, the effects of Soviet Propaganda and the effects of the rapid increase of affluence visa visa the Post WWII boom. Race, though, still actually referred to race, in some meaningful sense of population genetics — in the sense, of course, admitting that all sorts of absurd attributions were made.
It would be nice to know where it went, since it would be useful when trying to explain what comes across as ‘Race’ in the US or, alternatively, why the US is so darn ‘implicitly-West Caucasian.’ That ‘race’ is currently defined in contrast to the once dominant ethnos, might help explain why ‘racial Blacks,’ ‘ethnic Hispanics,’ and ‘politically constructed Asians’ all count as ‘Races,’ when it comes to allocated privileges. And why one should not be surprised if it is extended to others.